Silicon Valley invests in Urban Farming after the industry displays multiple recent years of exponential growth. Venture Capital firms out of Silicon Valley in the past two years have made some huge investments in start-ups and new companies to accelerate the growth of the industry.
Plenty, a recent startup, has been very active after receiving a recent Series A funding of over 24 million. Their mission is to create a repeatable model for “field size” indoor warehouse farms in and near urban environments. “Field Size” doesn’t mean the facility is as large as a huge field farm, but that it can match the production capacity of a large-scale field operation. They are looking to set up dozens of farms in the next two years at a scale of 50,000sqft or larger. These operations will be vertical farms using vertical grow tower technology.
Plenty just acquired the leading producer of vertical farming technology, Bright Agrotech, in order to solidify their model and acquire the intellectual property that is driving the vertical growing industry right now.
This is very exciting for the indoor agriculture industry because it marks the first large-scale acquisition by a venture capital funded company of another company in the industry. This showcases to the smaller producers, innovators and data collectors that the need for innovation and technology that makes farming easier, more efficient, and less risky is valuable. This should bring more people trying to innovate within this industry and innovations will benefit all of us in the industry.
In addition, if Plenty can pull off their goal of opening dozens of large scale farming operations it will showcase that urban farming does have its place in a world where local food sustainably produced is in demand. Plenty farms will all be pesticide free and use 1% of the water that would be needed to grow the same crops in the field.
If successful, more and more venture capital money will begin making its way into the industry. In fact, Just days after the news from Plenty, Bowery Farms just raised $20 million in a new investment round. Bowery is an NJ-based urban farm that uses its own computer software technology to maintain plants for optimal taste.
With both of these company’s making waves just days apart, this shows that the indoor and controlled farming industries are continuing their growth as more and more companies prove that the model can work and it’s scalable. At the end of the day that is good for our industry as a whole. Success brings other people to the industry interested in taking advantage of the industry’s growth year after year. The next few years are looking good for those in and looking to get into urban farming. With the population set to hit 9 billion by 2050, the more we can get growing food today, the better prepared we will be for our future.